Harvest Festival Shows Vicksburg’s Agricultural Heritage

By Sue Moore

Something for everyone will be on tap for visitors to the 10th annual Harvest Festival, sponsored by the Vicksburg Historical Society on Sunday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Historic Village on N. Richardson Street. It is free.

Richard Barnes will be there with his sawmill demonstration. The West Michigan Wood Turners will be turning wood into beautiful objects. Rich Salvaggio will be making apple cider and providing samples to drink made from apples donated by Vicksburg Farmers’ Market vendor Nick Fox. Dale Sult and his group of merry men will have antique tractors on display.

A pie baking competition, a pumpkin decorating contest and a pumpkin weight guessing game will take place. A secret word and secret picture search will go on all day for the little people. A 50/50 drawing will be part of the Harvest Festival as a fundraiser for the Historical Society.

There will be animals to gawk at or pet. A free hayride wagon pulled by a team of horses will take families around the town. The Depot Museum’s Ford Model A car will be available for short rides to experience what riding in one of these early cars was like.

These activities and more have been organized by a team headed by Charlie Church as chair and assisted by past chairmen John Polasek and Don Wiertella. Together they have a strong band of community volunteers who have been helping with the festival since its inception. The initial idea for a Harvest Festival came from Pat Oswalt, whose family had had a large dairy farm on the outskirts of Vicksburg. She had been giving tours to school children for many years and recognized that the Historical Society could best feature this community’s agricultural roots in a celebration of the harvest.

That’s why vendors from the Farmers’ Market will be plying their wares as will makers of things, who will be on site to sell their work at the community pavilion.

The pumpkin decorating contest for children 5 to 12 years old requires entries to be delivered to the Depot Museum on Saturday, Sept. 29 between 1 and 6 p.m. The winners will be announced at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The pie baking contest will take place on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., so entries must be there in the morning before that time. Winners will be announced at noon. Then the pies will be sliced and offered for sale at $2 each.

Applications for the pumpkin and pie baking contests will be available at the Church Insurance Agency at 125 E. Prairie St. and at the Depot Museum on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. in September.

The buildings in the Historic Village will be open for tours with docents available to explain the history and contents of the print shop, general store, Doris Lee Sweet shop, school house, township hall, garage and farm house. The Historic Village continues to grow as part of the work of the Vicksburg Historical Society which is open during the fall on the weekends from 1-5 p.m. each day for researching and viewing the collection of artifacts at the Depot Museum and on the grounds of the Historic Village.

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